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This week on Khetha #12

Radio Stations: SABC Radio Stations

Topic: Funding Opportunities
Original Script Written by: Christa Rapoo

Programme Date: 25-28 March 2019
Week: 12
Target Audience: The General public

Script Notes

  • The programme is entitledPost-School Education and Training (PSET) opportunities available for people with disabilities
  • This script will be translated to other official languages and broadcast on 10 Public Service Announcement (PBS) radio stations.
  • The programme is features the radio presenter and a guest from the Department of Higher Education and Training.
  • The radio presenter is the main anchor of the programme and he/she will control the activities on the programme.

The objectives of this programme are to:

  • To explain how to apply for funding;
  • To familiarise learners with the various sources of funding; and
  • To encourage young people to apply on time and do thorough research on these funding sources.

The entire programme runs for 30 minutes; which includes Public Services announcements (PSAs).

Opening Billboard: ‘This programme is brought to you by the Department of Higher Education and Training in partnership with SABC Education.’

Programme Introduction

Presenter: Thank you for joining us for another informative episode of Khetha brought to you by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) in partnership with SABC Education. We are joined in studio by our guest speaker from the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). Today we will be talking about “Funding Opportunities”. Our guest will enlighten students who wish to apply for funding. Having this information will assist and guide students on how to apply, who is eligible to apply, and the requirements needed for applications in order to qualify for funding. It’s good to have you on the show ********.

Presenter: What funding options are there for people to apply for?

Guest: One can apply for a bursary, a scholarship or a student loan. These options are differentiated by what they offer, their requirements and repayment options.

A Bursary is a financial award made by an institution to individuals or groups of people in order to further their studies. It is awarded to learners who cannot afford to pay full fees and it is based on academic merit.

A Scholarship is awarded to an academically deserving student which consists of conditions and criteria the candidate must meet. The sponsorship awarded covers at the least a portion of the student’s tuition. If the payment made does not fully cover the fees, then the student or their parents have to pay the rest. The good thing about a scholarship is that the student does not have to pay any of the money back.

A Student loan is a way of funding further education after high school. Loans are awarded to applicants based on their need and family income. Repayment of the loan is always linked to interest rates. If you receive a loan you would be required to repay the loan in full as well as the accumulated interest.

Presenter: Who offers these funding opportunities?

Guest: Government departments and entities, private companies and other organizations. For government departments, entities or private companies learners must apply directly to government and private companies.Some companies will interview learners for selection.

Mining, law and accounting firms for example also offer bursaries to high achieving learners. Some of the conditions attached to such bursaries are that learners may require to pay-back the bursary by working at that particular firm for a number of years after completing their studies. The great thing about such a condition is that learners then gain work experience.

Presenter: Wow! That is great indeed! Please tell us about government funding opportunities?

Guest: There are different funding opportunities available for studies at higher education institutions, which are offered by: the Funza Lushaka Bursary Scheme, National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), the Rural Education Access Programme, Department of Social Development, Department of Science and Technology and Department of Health, just to name a few. What our listeners need to know is that our government has the following structures that also offer funding opportunities at a national, provincial and district municipality level:

  • Government public entities (NYDA, Johannesburg Roads Agency),
  • Constitutional institutions (The South African Human Rights Commission, Public Protector),
  • Government business enterprises (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), South African Broadcasting Corporation SABC), and
  • SETAs (Sector Education and Training Authority).

NSFAS is one of the National Public Entities that offer financial aid to students. It is accessible to all deserving and financial needy students in public higher education institutions. All public higher education institutions have a NSFAS desk within their financial department.

NSFAS also offers bursaries to students with disabilities when they apply for a disability bursary at a university or university of technology. Students have to submit a medical certificate and assessment forms for their application to be considered.

The Department of Basic Education (DBE) has a bursary Programme called the Funza Lushaka Bursary Programme. This Programme provides high achieving individuals with a bursary to cover their studies. When funded via this Programme, you are expected to teach in a school where you will be placed. Each year of the bursary funding is repayable by a year of service.

The Rural Education Access Programme (REAP) enables young people from poor rural communities in South Africa to access tertiary education.REAP is in partnership with the National Student Financial Aid Scheme. NSFAS utilizes resources of the National Skills Fund, established by the Department of Higher Education and Training, to allocate full cost bursaries to REAP students. An annual allocation of the NSFAS loan is set aside to provide loans to students who fall under the REAP. In this way, marginalised students from far flung rural areas are provided an opportunity to study at university. Matriculants from these communities are usually unable to access higher education due to poverty, poor education, lack of information, distance from urban centres or educational hubs, and historical apartheid discrimination.

The National Department of Social Development offers scholarships to prospective students who would like to enroll for a Bachelor Social Work. Applicants must comply with the entry requirements set by the University and provide proof of acceptance letter from the University.

The Department of Health also offers funding opportunities towards qualifications in the health field and the availability and advertising of these opportunities differs per province.

In a nutshell, government has a number of funding opportunities and listeners are encouraged to visit the career help website and Facebook page to learn more about current funding opportunities.

Presenter: What does a learner need to do to access these funding opportunities?

Guest: A learner needs to apply for admission to study at the institution of higher learning first. Bursary applications normally require a letter of admission from the institution as one of the required supporting documents for application, for example a certified copy of your identity document, your latest results, your proof of residential address and proof of parents/guardian income (if they are employed). For those who will be using the online application method, make sure you upload all the necessary documents.

With some organizations you can apply without feedback or the acceptance letter from the institution, nonetheless, contact the funders to enquire if they require the acceptance letter form the higher education institution or not.

Presenter: Please tell us more about NSFAS?

Guest: NSFAS is an entity of the Department of Higher Education and Training, and our mandate is providing bursaries to eligible students at all 26 public universities and 50 Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges throughout the country. Before the announcement of free higher education, NSFAS was providing loans to students who then had to pay back the loans when employed. The repayments were then reinserted into the fund and used to increase the budget.

Our role and objective is to make sure that we provide access to higher education and give financial support to deserving students. Our aim is to provide efficient and effective financial aid to students from poor and working class families in a sustainable manner that promotes access to, and success in, higher and further education and training, in pursuit of South Africa’s national and human resource development goals.

Presenter: How does NSFAS work?

Guest: The NSFAS bursary covers the actual cost of students’ tuition, plus a NSFAS determined allowance for prescribed learning materials.

NSFAS supports access to, and success in, higher education and training for students from poor and working class families who would otherwise not be able to afford to study.

The actual cost of tuition means the tuition fee for the specific programme that the student is registered for at an institution. These tuition fees differ depending on the field of study (e.g. engineering, medicine, art, history, etc.) and the institution attended.  

Prescribed learning materials includes the learning materials required for the actual courses taken – for example, a fine art student may require paint/brushes/canvasses; a graphics design student may require a laptop with a specific software package.

If a prospective student qualifies for a bursary, they will have to sign a contract with binding conditions. Accepting the bursary will not require a beneficiary to pay back the funds in monetary terms. However, it does require the beneficiary to meet and maintain certain academic conditions/criteria.

Presenter: Who qualifies for NSFAS?

Guest:You qualify for NSFAS funding if:

  • You are a South African citizen;
  • Your combined annual household income does not exceed R350 000 per annum;
  • You are a SASSA grant recipient;
  • You are registering for the first time for an undergraduate qualification at a public university or you are registered at a TVET college for one of the National Certificate Vocational or report 191 programme;
  • You are applying to study at a public university or TVET college for a qualification;
  • You are an already registered university student with an annual household income of less than R122 000 per year;
  • You have passed Grade 9 & 10 to receive NSFAS funding to study at a TVET college;
  • You have passed Grade 12 to receive NSFAS funding to study at a university.

It is important to note that NSFAS does not accept applications from learners who wish to study at private colleges or universities.

Presenter: What other funding opportunities are out there for learners and students?

Guest: Some learners may choose to pay their own way by taking off a year or two to save money to pay for their studies. Another option is to work and study at the same time. Part time studies are a popular way of completing ones studies. This takes a lot of discipline though, so learners would need to set aside enough time for both work and studies and also ensure that they do not fall behind.

Parents of learners who wish to further studies can consider bank loans which offer study loans for South African learners. Banks are very strict in awarding loans, repayments of the loan is always linked to interest rates.

If parents decide to take this route, they’ll need to read-up on the loan conditions to make sure they understand their agreement well.

Presenter: Who should apply for financial aid?

Guest: South African citizens who would like to study at higher education institutions should apply for financial aid. Learners can visit the Financial Aid Office at the institution of their choice. Alternatively they can visit banks or private organization for further information on available bursaries. Applications will not be considered unless they have a valid South African ID number. Please note that you must be accepted into an appropriate study programme at a recognized higher education institution before funding can be granted.

For those learners who are still awaiting the application feedback from institutions can contact the Applications Office for further enquiries.

Presenter: Any closing remarks?

Guest: We encourage the listeners to be aware thatapplying for admission to a higher education institution and applying for a bursary are two different things, so they must be done separately.

Applying for a bursary doesn’t guarantee that you will get it, always apply to as many companies as possible to increase your chances of getting a bursary. Companies are looking for hard working students; those with good marks will be given preference.

Presenter: Thank you, so how can one get in touch with you if they need further information?

Guest: For more information our listeners can reach us through

  • Call 086 999 0123, which is a call share line, from Monday to Friday between 8:00am and 4:30pm,
  • Visit to our offices at 123 Francis Baard, Pretoria
  • Visit our website at
  • Visit our careers portal at ncap.careerhelp.org.za

To listen to Khetha podcasts, visit SABC Education platform at http://iono.fm/p/230

Closing Billboard “This programme was brought to you by the Department of Higher Education and Training”.

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